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NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

Sheffield, UK
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NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

I've just booked a trip to spend 4 nights each in New York and Boston next March - flying between the two cities on a Sunday. I'm staying in Midtown in NY and Back Bay in Boston.

I'm now considering taking the train instead of flying. According to Amtrak the journey is around 4 hours so it seems like a no brainer. - probably less time and hassle overall if I factor in transfer to and from airports and check in/security etc.

I have a couple of Amtrak questions;

What's the difference ( apart from price) between Acala and the regional service?

How easy is it to make a reservation online? is there a will call type window at Penn Station?

Apologies for dumb questions, but if you've ever travelled by rail in the UK you'll understand!

What do folk think? Any views very welcome

Thanks in advance.

Silver Spring...
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1. Re: NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

If you make an online reservation and do not get a printed ticket, you can use the Quik-Trak Self-Service Ticketing Kiosk

www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer…

Ticket prices do go up closer to the date of departure.

New York City, New...
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2. Re: NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

I have to go to Boston on business in Oct, and just booked the train. A lot less painful than dealing with the airport.

Acela is upgraded service and slightly faster trains. I'm doing Acela up and a regular train back (budget cutbacks - I'd rather spend the money on meals!). In my experience, when Amtrak is experiencing delays, they let the Acelas pass the regional trains... For someone who doesnt have to be there for a meeting or dinner the regional service is fine - the time difference is minimal for a lot more cost. But, if you're rich and want more comfort, the Acela is a nicer train.

Picking up the ticket from the kiosk is simple.

suitcaseready.com

New York City
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3. Re: NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

Acela is slightly faster, but the trains themselves are not very different.

It is very easy to make a reservation on line. When you do, you can print out a page with a bar code. Scan that bar code at the ticket machine in Penn Station, and it will print out your ticket.. If you don't want to bother with that, dipping the credit card you used tomake the reservation will also produce the ticket.

Sheffield, UK
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4. Re: NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

Many thanks for the instant and very helpful replies. The price for the regional service, if I book now, is coming in at $49, which seems amazing.

Is Sunday travel an issue? Again, in the UK, Sunday rail travel can be a bit unpredicrable, because that's when they carry out a lot of track maintenance.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

Amtrak travel between DC-NYC-Boston is apt to experience more delays during weekday morning & evening rush hours because there's more "competition" on the tracks they share with commuter rail service. I've actually sometimes arrived at Penn Station ahead of schedule on a Sunday.

Edited: 08 July 2011, 17:21
Portland, Maine
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6. Re: NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

Don't know where you're staying in Boston, but be aware that there are more hotels around the Back Bay Station than South Station. All trains from NYC terminate in South Station, but stop in Back Bay a few minutes earlier. The same is true in the reverse direction.

Just bring the print you get when you get an online reservation. You can scan it at a Quik Trak machine, or swipe the credit card you used for the reservation, or enter your reservation number. All will work. Of course, you can always go to a ticket window as well.

For most Amtrak fares, if you don't actually print out your ticket until you get to the station it's fully refundable you have a change of plans.

New York
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7. Re: NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

My credit card was "unreadable" at the Penn Station kiosk for some reason and, luckily because my train was late, there was time to stand in line and get a ticket from an agent. My advice is to print out the confirmed reservation, just in case.

New York City, New...
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8. Re: NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

"I've actually sometimes arrived at Penn Station ahead of schedule on a Sunday."

I wish I had the same experience. Last time I came back from Providence on Amtrak it was 8+ hours...I may as well have gone to Europe.

We were repeatedly put off on a side track while Acelas and other trains hurled past us. There was some sort of problem delaying all the trains before we boarded. I think I had a noon train and the 10am Acela hadnt rolled through yet.

I must have bad luck with Amtrak. It's usually on time in one direction.... Taking a 10am Acela to be sure to be there in time for an 8pm dinner!

Sheffield, UK
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9. Re: NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

Thanks again to everyone for the helpful info and advice. I've decided to book the regional train from Penn St to Back Bay. I just have a couple more Amtrak questions....

Will I be able to get something to eat and drink on the train?

If I book a ticket for a specific time (say 9.00 am) and change my plans while I'm in NY, can i change to a later time (say 10.30) without penalty, if I haven't printed my ticket?

And can I print out my ticket before the day of travel at the booth?

Plymouth
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10. Re: NY- Boston Amtrak advice please

We have used Amtrak between Boston & New York and have had no problems with delays either time. We booked online at home and took the e-mail with the barcode to the station, scanned barcode and tickets came out. Brilliant!!! There is a buffet service and it is very good and not too expensive. We also stayed in the Back bay are at the Back Bay Hotel now a jurys I think. We went to the South Station and got a cab for $10. I think us Brits are so used to UK train services which are appalling we struggle to get our heads around what is in fact a brilliant train service in the US. Well I think it is terrific and the scenery on the New York Boston leg is beautiful. Not sure about time penalties as we didnt change our plans. Did NY -DC-NY as a day trip this year on July 3rd and trains were spot on time and an enjoyable trip. Have a great time.